teenage crap detectors

Love this video from “Billy Madison”. The moderator was the only one in the crowd who wasn’t fooled.

One of the things I love most about high school students is that they are skilled “crap detectors“. They are horribly difficult to persuade, especially when it comes to religious matters.

If you’re lying to a high school student you better expect their crap detector to kick into gear. Faking it? Consider yourself detected. Embellishing? Misconstruing? Manipulating? Guessing? Their crap detecting capabilities will catch you in the act. Using the same old out-dated methods to reach and teach them? They’re not having it. Putting God in a little itty-bitty box based on your understanding of Him? Not gonna fly.

The challenge for me and my team is to:

  1. Remain 100% transparent.
  2. Listen.
  3. Never ask them to do anything we aren’t doing ourselves.
  4. Abandon all teaching methods that are dead.

These are just some initial thoughts I’ve had as I’ve evaluated the crowd at Calvary these past six months.

Side note: “church kids” are the most effective crap detectors around. They don’t wear hand-me-downs for very long unless they really like the way they fit!

6 thoughts on “teenage crap detectors”

  1. I like this Ryan – I’m gonna get the youth pastors at my church to read it too 🙂 Short jabs of wisdom (a-la 22 words, etc) are a good thing. Thanks!

  2. It sounds like you have a good understanding of what to do Ryan. Teenagers are a very important and difficult group to reach. I appreciate you being so dedicated to the calling. I’m having trouble with my 15 year old, trying to get him to attend church. It’s a struggle. Prayers are appreciated.

  3. I like the first three. Question regarding #4 though. Is it the method or the message that is more important? No one would argue that we should not bash people over the head w/ our message or not speak the truth in love…Amen?

    I would be curious to know which “methods” you would consider to be dead? Also, what makes them dead? Would it be based solely on what works or is there something else?

    Just random thoughts…

  4. maybe I shouldn’t call them “dead”, but there are several methods that are limping along… “mostly dead” you could say.

    lecture-style teaching week after week comes to mind.

    my brain is tired right now…

  5. Interesting…what is the criteria for determining that it is “mostly dead” or “limping along”?

    Not that I agree or disagree, just want to know who gets to decide these things. Seems like, I could be wrong, that this based only on what seems to working at the present time. If it is based on what is working then how does that relate to teaching on the not so popular topics like judgement or discipline? That may not…work too well.

    Does the media decide that? Our culture? The students? The Church? How do they make that decision?

    Again…just random thoughts.

  6. One additional question. What do we replace the “mostly dead” methods with?

    Soundbites, watching a DVD? In other words, how do we have them engage the text?

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